|Lions take another WR, Calvin Johnson, with 2nd pick|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 28 April 2007 09:41|
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) -Another first-round pick, another wide receiver for the Lions.|
Detroit selected Georgia Tech's Calvin Johnson on Saturday with the second overall pick in the draft, making it four out of five drafts in which the Lions took a wideout in the first round.
The Lions were the first team since the NFL and AFL merged drafts in 1967 to take a wide receiver in three straight first rounds. Charles Rogers (2003) and Mike Williams (2005), sandwiched around Roy Williams (2004), were busts.
Millen insisted in the days before the draft that he's previous failures wouldn't scare him away from taking another receiver. And it's hard to argue with selecting Johnson.
Nicknamed ``Spider-man'' because of his height and sticky hands, many considered him the best prospect in this year's draft class. The Lions spurned trade offers from teams that coveted Johnson and wanted to move up to get him.
Team president Matt Millen said he considered a number of others - including Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Thomas, Clemson defensive end Gaines Adams and Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson - but none of them measured up.
``None of them compared to Calvin Johnson,'' he said. ``Calvin Johnson is in a class by himself.
Offensive coordinator Mike Martz called Johnson the best wide receiver prospect he's seen.
And Johnson had glowing things to say about Martz as well.
``He's ecstatic just like me,'' Johnson said of Martz. ``Like I said, I'm going to be in a good situation.''
Johnson, at 6-foot-4 and 237 pounds, has the strength and size to fight off defenders in traffic. And he ran a 4.35 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine.
``I told him when he was here (for a pre-draft visit) that he wouldn't get past (No.) 2,'' Millen said.
``This guy is the real deal,'' Millen said.
Johnson last season won the Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation's top collegiate receiver. He finished 10th in balloting for the Heisman Trophy and was named the Atlantic Coast Conference's player of the year.
As a junior, he caught 76 passes for a school-record 1,202 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Yellow Jackets coach Chan Gailey used Johnson as a flanker and as a slot receiver.
Martz said he expected Johnson would line up in some offensive sets as the ``Z'' receiver alongside established veteran Mike Furrey and opposite star Roy Williams.
Millen said a pre-draft visit by Johnson to Detroit sealed the deal. All of the players and team personnel who met with him were impressed by how he carried himself.
One of Johnson's only potential negatives going into the draft even turned into a positive.
A report surfaced that said Johnson, Adams and Louisville defensive tackle Amobi Okoye acknowledged at the scouting combine that they had used marijuana.
The reaction was largely positive with some observers lauding the honesty of the trio.
Johnson wouldn't say anything about it, except that he's not a drug user and does not condone it. And if he was asked again about it, would he answer the same way even though the information was leaked, he replied: ``Yes.''
The Lions are an NFL-worst 24-72 since 2001, when Millen took over in Detroit - a stretch of futility that compares only to Tampa Bay's 12 straight double-digit loss seasons from 1983-94 in league history.
Rogers, also the second overall pick, and 2002 first-round quarterback Joey Harrington were cut and traded, respectively, last year. Mike Williams might not make it to a third season in Detroit.
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